In the hour before dawn…Kingussie.

November 26, 2017

The station is not a quiet as you might think – local passengers are waiting for the north bound Caledonian Sleeper to use it as a convenient early morning service for Inverness.

Class 67s are back on the Sleepers and have been for a while on the Highland line. With all respect to the plucky Class 73s, they were never built for this sort of railway.

No. 67 012 – one of the locos allocated to Wrexham & Shropshire services and latterly Chiltern Railways. Now lost its nameplates.

New stock for the sleepers is due soon…

If you wish to photograph the last remaining Mark 2 air-con stock on sleeper services, you don’t have much time left.

LED lighting has improved low light photography on many Scottish stations – so much better balanced.

Dawn at last…the signal box at Kingussie. Like mark 2 and 3 stock on the sleepers, you do not have much time to photograph this sort of infrastructure on the Highland line.

Images taken of the north bound 1S25 Euston-Inverness Caledonian Sleeper service on the morning of Saturday 25th November 2017. In the snow!

 

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Distillery progress

November 19, 2017

I did say that I wished to make some significant progress on Loch Dhu Distillery – the aim is to complete the layout to exhibition standard by the end of the year (2017). I have other projects to progress and the reality is that Loch Dhu is really becoming a bit of a log jam in the studio. So, the Lifecolour paints came out to create stone colours and to weather the yard pavement and the buildings prior to fitting windows and other details.

It’s a fun little layout with some nooks and crannies in the track plan to make the scenes appear larger than they really are. The colour blending work with rust colours, grime, dirty black and various other shades from the Lifecolour range has been interesting to do. The Lifecolour paints are durable and quite subtle when thinned around 4:1 with thinner and applied with an airbrush.

The over bridge located in the distillery yard was built up of individual stone blocks cut from South Eastern Finecast embossed random stone sheet and laid in courses varying slightly in width. Some blocks were smoothed over with a little Squadron Putty before being rubbed down and painted. The iron oxide staining of some of the stone is from the Lifecolour ‘Rust and Dust’ set which is a very useful set of layout finishing colours. It looks far better than the Wills material used in the exchange siding scene.


The stone work in the exchange siding scene was built up from Wills materials which at the time looked fine. Having experimented with making my own dressed stone courses in the yard over bridge, I am considering reworking the walls in this part of the layout – but not for some time. There’s too much detailing and scenery to complete including wagon weathering (those Bachmann 12t/13t opens in the front of this view are far too clean!) and detailing the distillery yard. This little layout has certainly taken on a life of its own!


Forres at night with 31 601.

October 14, 2017

Waiting time and a token exchange.

With the token exchange complete, 31 601 moves off – seen in the slight motion blur on the side of the loco. Signal box is as clear as one could hope for with long exposure, low-light photography on a cold night.

 


Forres in June 2011.

October 13, 2017

Two trains cross in the loop east of the (now) old Forres station. The first train was an east-bound special consisting of DRS No. 37 423 propelling No.975025, the former Southern Region General Managers Saloon (Caroline) and a former Hastings line DEMU catering car. Crossing was the Royal Scotsman on a Classic Tour with a West Coast Railways Class 47 in charge. Note the token exchange. The sleepy feeling to this location has all been swept away for a new station, station access and expanded car park.

 


Changes at Forres station.

October 13, 2017

As part of a multi-million pound upgrade of the Inverness-Aberdeen line, Forres has seen some considerable changes – more than any other location on the line between Huntly and Inverness. Here’s a few pictures, some a little surreal, of the works as it nears its climax on the 13th October. The new station was due to be opened the following week. In the meantime, Forres signal box, level crossing and semaphore signals are now history. Token exchange outside the station, a time-consuming exercise is also history, as is the signal box at Elgin West. A mound of earth now laps onto the old platform and the old yard at Forres now hosts the new station.


Butterfly heaven.

September 29, 2017

Aster × frikartii ‘Mönch’ and butterflies on a beautiful early Autumn day in my garden on the Moray Firth coast.


Modelling again: whisky casks this time.

May 30, 2017

Some high-speed painting…got about 100 casks to paint and weather for my tiny Loch Dhu Distillery layout scheme…

Phew! Nearly done!
All the colours are by ‘Lifecolour’. There’s no doubt, the Italians have done a great job with modelling paints over the years.